Fernando Alonso is looking forward to a strong fight this week in Las Vegas, a race Aston Martin will approach with the wind in its back following the team’s solid performance in Brazil.
In Sao Paulo, Alonso returned to the podium for the first time since last August’s Dutch GP, the Spaniard capitalizing on his team’s remarkable result in qualifying which saw Lance Stroll and Alonso line up respectively third and fourth on Sunday’s grid.
In addition to Alonso’s run to P3, Stroll nicely complemented his teammate’s efforts by claiming fifth in the 71-lap race.
The strong display came in the wake of dismal races for the Silverstone-based outfit in Austin and in Mexico City.
The team’s successive pit lane starts in Austin with both drivers and in Mexico with Stroll coupled with Alonso’s retirement at the Circuit of the Americas and a double DNF in Mexico made for a gloomy picture.
Aston’s troubles at the Circuit of the Americas, where the team implemented a significant update on its AMR23 car, were compounded by the event’s sprint race format that left the team with just a single practice session on Friday to gauge its new package.
But at Interlagos, the team succeeded in turning around its fortunes, with Alonso praising Aston’s crews for their unity and determination.
“We’ve been struggling for a few months,” Alonso said in Brazil, quoted by Speedcafe. “The last two races were probably quite painful.
“We had to experiment a little bit with a few things on the car to really understand the direction we were going, and we have to go for next year’s car as well.
“So those races were painful, especially Mexico. We were very slow as a team.”
“It was nice to see everyone in the team very focused, determined, united in the same direction, going deep into the analysis and coming back stronger in Interlagos.
“I was a little bit concerned, no doubt, for the last few races, the final part of the championship, but now I cannot wait to go to Vegas. So it’s a very different energy when you have a performing car.”
All teams and drivers will approach this week’s Las Vegas GP as absolute beginners as Sin City offers its opulent extravagance to F1 four decades after Grand Prix racing’s first visit to the gambling capital of the world.
Granted, Aston benefitted from a few lucky breaks at Interlagos to boost its points tally, but Alonso believes his team’s form in Brazil should allow the team to stack up on chips on Vegas’ Strip.
“I think so,” he said. “There are a couple of things that have been understood inside the team and the direction to go.
“We had some hopes [for Brazil], and they proved to be right. Now, why not be competitive in the last two?
“I don’t know if (it would be) the level of the podium. We had Charles (Leclerc), obviously, going off on the formation lap with a problem.
“We had the Mercedes underperforming, Checo (Perez) starting at the back, so there were a couple of factors that helped us to be on the podium. Hopefully, we will be in the mix. That will be a happy place for us.”